HSCC International Trophy – Silverstone GP

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Smith’s March 782 victorious at ‘Cheeverstone

Silverstone was American Eddie Cheever’s happiest hunting ground before his 1996 Indianapolis 500 victory.  In 1975, at 17, he won two British Formula 3 races there in six days driving a Modus, then in ‘79 he aced the International Trophy – a European F2 championship round – in the factory Osella-BMW on Pirelli wets.  He also won Silverstone’s World Sports Car Championship rounds in ‘86, ‘87 and ‘88, sharing Silk Cut Jaguars with Derek Warwick, Raul Boesel and Martin Brundle respectively.

Owned by Richard Evans and pedalled by the gifted Andy Smith, Cheever’s March 782 triumphed on its historic racing debut Photos Eric Sawyer

Silverstone did not host F2 in ‘78, when Cheever saddled March-BMW 782-14 for Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing, but eight of 12 round wins for Bruno Giacomelli in the works Polifac BMW Junior Team 782 left slim pickings for breathless rivals.  Seconds at Rouen in France and Enna-Pergusa in Sicily – also super-fast tracks – headlined Eddie’s campaign in which he finished fourth, falling from second in ‘77.

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Owned by Richard Evans and pedalled by the gifted Andy Smith, Cheever’s March 782 triumphed on its historic racing debut at Silverstone in the second leg of the Aurora Trophy feature at the HSCC’s International Trophy retrospective on May 14-15.  After a brief shakedown, Smith bagged pole but retired from Saturday’s opening race with no rear brakes and a loose front wishbone, having disputed the lead with winner Rob Wainwright (ex-Alex Ribeiro March-BMW 762).

Jonathan Mellor’s Frazer Nash Boulogne TT Photo John Staveley

In a grid that included Formula 5000s – Marc Campfield’s Chevron B24, Matthew Wurr and Keith Norris (McLaren M10Bs) and Adam Simmonds’ Lola T142, which joined F1 cars in some 1970s’ International Trophy races – plus 1600cc FAtlantics and two-litre F3s, youngsters Benn Tilley in Simon Hadfield’s Modus-BDA M1 previously loaned to father Stuart and Sam Harrison (Lola T240) impressed, and like Campfield, earned podiums.

European sportscar star of the 1970s John Burton refuses to slow down. The octogenarian (!) won both Thundersports races – the second on a damp track that increasingly favoured his slick tyres – from James Schryver in a similar Chevron B26 and Jamie Thwaites, whose Chevron B19 was best of three Team Gunston cars redolent of South Africa’s Springbok Series.

Silverstone’s fickle microclimate played its part over a busy weekend.  In Historic Formula Ford 2000 Benn Simms overturned a tiny deficit to defending champion Graham Fennymore to dominate Saturday’s gloriously sunny round in his Spax Dampers Reynard.  

Scoring a Classic Formula Ford double at one event in different cars is unprecedented.  First race winner Cam Jackson did that after his Winkelmann (US-market Palliser) WDF2 was damaged after a flight over Michael Richings’ Alexis at Club while a close third behind Tom McArthur (Titan Mk4) and Ben Mitchell (Merlyn Mk20) in Saturday’s superlative Historic FF1600 race, an old-fashioned Silverstone slipstreamer.

Read the full report in our June 2022 issue….

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